The Chaos

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.

This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,

Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol?”

The Chaos is a poem about irregularities in English spelling and pronunciation. It was written by Dutch writer and teacher Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870-1946), and appeared in various forms in a series of editions of his book Drop Your Foreign Accent. The full-length poem, together with background information, is available here.

3 Responses to The Chaos

  1. Sean Jeating says:

    This (word) game is a gem.
    And it’s gratis. Grand.
    One ought not to take this for granted.
    That’s why I am so grateful.
    To show my gratitude,
    I shall retreat under the rocks of Seanhenge to gratituously ponder about the gender of the gander.

  2. Stan says:

    If a goose a gander be,
    It’s probably not she but he.
    If a group of geese tails waggle,
    Chances are you’ve got a gaggle.

    from Stanland to Seanhenge, with apologies to Ogden Nash.

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